Commonly we hear that
a one or two percent CR (Conversion Ratio) is good. By this
is meant that one or two visitors take the desired action in
accordance with the site purpose. Perhaps they make a purchase,
request further information, or download a file.
Such numbers mean different things to different people. Many
sites would be dismayed by a CR of less than ten percent.
Still others, particularly those selling high ticket items,
may be quite content with a CR of 0.1%. What the CR for your
site ought to be, depends upon the site purpose. For example,
it's easier to generate leads than to sell product. Thus you
would expect a better CR in lead generation than in selling.
CR And Newcomers
If you're new to the Web or have only recently opened a site,
you may not have enough visitors or sales to figure what your
CR is or ought to be. The bottom line is that hits are hard
to get, and the task is far more difficult for a new or relatively
So What Should Your CR Be?
As suggested, it is a function of the site purpose. As an
example, assume you have opened a site and are selling an
ebook at $20 per copy. Further assume it's a dandy book with
great content of interest to many. And one that over-delivers
In theory, you should be able to generate one to two sales
per 100 visitors (1% - 2% CR). In practice, it may be an unrealistic
goal. The inconsistencies between groups of only 100 can mislead.
The Makings Of A Great Site
Let's assume you have taken a practical view toward your
site. And that it is all working well. You have great content
that even now is beginning to draw traffic. And you have other
products, perhaps an affiliate program or two, besides the
Given this model, hits on the site do not relate directly
to the CR for your ebook. You need to look at the hits on
the page which contains the sales presentation of the book.
Then consider sales relative to this count.
To put this another way, it may require 1000 hits on your
site to generate 100 hits on your sales presentation. If these
hits bring two sales, your CR is 2%. However, relative to
your site which received 1000 hits, ebook sales amount to
only 0.2% on total hits.
1000 Hits? That's A Lot!
You bet it is. And if you're new to the Web, you may not
yet have received this many in total. Growing targeted traffic
is the most difficult task there is in doing business online.
It takes time, a lot of learning, and above all, patience.
So What Can You Do Meanwhile?
Continuously examine all aspects of your site, with the goal
of directing more visitors down paths to sales.
Does your content at least indirectly point to a path which
leads to a sale?
Can the sales presentations be improved?
Is there a product that can be dropped that would increase
sales on others by bringing a sharper focus?
While the above are clear cut, it's very difficult to measure
the effectiveness of any change. That is, given a change,
100 hits on a sales presentation may yield 3 sales rather
than 2, but you still must do a lot of guessing. In fact,
a good improvement in the presentation may result in a drop
to only 1 sale in the next 100 hits. With so few hits, results
are not conclusive. If you are convinced your new page is
better, you may decide to keep it, and worry about the CR
How Many Hits Can You Expect?
When a new site is opened, the only hits come from the webmaster
and friends. While building content, submitting to search
engines, improving the sales presentations and all else that
is required to grow a site, you will be busy. Hit counts will
climb, but slowly. Sales even more slowly.
While there are those who have the experience to generate
massive hit counts in very short order, even the most determined
newbie may need to be content with something between 2000
and 4000 total hits in the first year. Translate this to only
a few sales of a $20 ebook, and it's easy to see why people
so often do not hold on even for a year.
The good news for the persistent types is that a growth rate
of ten percent per month is not out of reach. And this brings
a doubling in 7.5 months. The secret? Hang in and make it
It Takes A Lot Of Hits
Until you are generating two to three hundred hits a day,
testing is not likely to "prove" the effectiveness
(or failure) of changes. In fact, even at 1000 hits per day,
there will always be a need to evaluate results. In some cases,
you must ignore what the numbers appear to say.
To put this another way, suppose you are up to 1000 hits
per day. If you put up a new sales presentation and your CR
jumps from 2% to 4%, and stays there, there's really no choice.
Hold to the new version. However, you may decide to do so
even if the CR drops a tad. Why? Because results from even
1000 hits per day can be circumstantial, a function of the
traffic that happened by. The new page may be determined good,
so long as there is not a significant drop. In taking this
choice, the hope is in gains over time.
Where Does That Leave You?
In the end, it is always a matter of judgement. With few
hits, this is really all there is to go by. Given lots of
hits, you will have better numbers to help you make such judgements.
But you will also have greater experience. So now, as at some
future date, you may need to act upon your sense of things,
rather than numbers.